May/June 2004 




t 1132 feet long and a price tag of $800 million, the Queen Mary 2 is the biggest, most expensive, and greatest ocean liner ever built.

The flagship of the Cunard Line is not only stunning to look at, she is also a feast for all the senses. With a wine cellar that is unequaled and with cuisine created by celebrated chef Todd English, with a level of entertainment unequaled by other ships, and staterooms that impress at every level, it was obvious that a cookie-cutter spa would not do for the QM2.



The natural choice to design the spa was Canyon Ranch, which has been a name to reckon with in the spa industry ever since the original property opened in 1979 in the foothills outside Tucson in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. When the QM2 was still a design on the drawing board, Canyon Ranch came on board to create a floating luxury spa.

“Our goal was to offer a taste of what Canyon Ranch has to offer,” says spa director Kathryn Green. “We have all the basics: 24 treatment rooms and a staff of 51 health and wellness experts ...”


he resulting 20,000 square foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub® is spacious and luxurious even by land standards. “Our goal was to offer a taste of what Canyon Ranch has to offer,” says spa director Kathryn Green. “We have all the basics: 24 treatment rooms and a staff of 51 health and wellness experts. The salon, which also has full makeup services, has four skin care stations, six hair stations, four manicure stations, and four for pedicures. Virtually all the services get booked during our transatlantic crossings.” She adds: “It is possible to pre-book treatments for those passengers traveling in the Princess or Queen suites.”

The spa is co-ed, though men and women have separate locker and changing areas. The first glimpse of the Aqua Therapy Centre is impressive: straight ahead is a dazzling thalassotherapy pool with a deluge waterfall, a whirlpool, and neck-massage fountains. There are reclining lounge airbeds, a deluge shower, wall-mounted body jets and floor-mounted air tubes.

The Thermal Suite has both herbal and Finnish Saunas, an ice fountain, two reflexology basins that massage tired feet, and an aromatic steam room. The ornately tiled herbal sauna has a unique, somewhat Moorish design, with individual arched niches for each person using the room. That decorating theme is repeated in the room used for the signature Rasul Ceremony, a medicinal mud and steam therapy that can be enjoyed individually or as part of a couple. Some of the other massage therapies—the Canyon Ranch signature massage, the Stone Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, or Sports Massage—may also be booked for couples.

The massage menu includes Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Reflexology, Lymphatic Massage, and Sea the Difference (for combating cellulite).


Nicola MacDonald, one of Canyon Ranch’s Chinese health and wellness specialists, is trained not only as a massage therapist, but also as an acupuncturist and a Chinese herbal medicine specialist. Her acupuncture treatments address a variety of conditions, including PMS and chronic pain. One of Ms. MacDonald’s recent clients had broken his back in three places and had subsequently suffered with chronic pain for years. After several extended acupuncture treatments, the client told Ms. MacDonald that for the first time, he did not have to take his pain medication. “It was then that he told me he was a neurosurgeon,” she recalls. “I was so glad he hadn’t said anything before—because I would certainly have been intimidated.” Though her client’s credentials might have been intimidating, his condition was one she had treated many times over. Ms. MacDonald’s treatments—whether acupuncture, the combination known as acu-massage (needles followed by massage, or the use of Chinese herbs—have proved to be very popular with transatlantic passengers, who seek her out to help with cellulite control, weight loss, or general well-being. “A weight loss program is easy to begin during the crossing,” she explains. “In addition to my treatments, there is the Fitness Centre and the Canyon Ranch spa cuisine, which is served in all of the ship’s main restaurants.” (There is also a nutritionist on board, who can help design individual weight loss plans.) To round out a fitness program, there are daily complimentary classes in various disciplines, including Pilates, yoga, and tai chi. Daily educational lectures and workshops—on such topics as stress management, disease prevention, and healthy living--are also complimentary.


A number of Canyon Ranch classic body treatments are offered, including the Grape Seed Scrub, the Mineral Salt Scrub, and the Mango Sugar Glo.

The skincare menu includes not only facials, but also back treatments, treatment for Rosacea and sensitive skin, and self-tanning treatments. Waxing is offered for both body and face.


A SpaClub Passport, which includes use of the Fitness Centre, locker rooms, and other spa facilities is complimentary on the day of any booked service costing over $100. The Passport may also be purchased for $19 on port days, $25 on sea days; a three day pass is $49 and a five-day pass is $79.

For more information on the Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and the Queen Mary 2, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit




© 2004 Spa Review Magazine